SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The field is set, and the host team will have to wait a year for another chance to break its Caribbean Series championship drought.
The Dominican Republic's Gigantes de Cibao defeated the Culiacan Tomateros from Mexico, 3-2, with a dramatic walk-off hit in the ninth to set the stage for this weekend's semifinal games and eliminate Puerto Rico from winning its first title since 2000.
• Box score: DR 3, MEX 2
Cuba's Pinar del Rio (1-3) and Venezuela's Caribes de Anzoategui (3-0) will join Mexico (2-1) and the Dominican Republic (2-1) in the semifinals Saturday with a championship game set for Sunday. Though the semifinal field is set, seeding is not. The pool-play round of the tournament concludes Friday with a matchup between Mexico and Venezuela in the afternoon and the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in the nightcap.
"We are coming out to win and play baseball [Friday]," Dominican Republic manager Audo Vicente said. "You're playing for the first, second or third seed and to be the home club. There is significance to these games."
After two scoreless innings, Mexico's Maxwell Leon drove home Rico Noel with a single to right field for an early 1-0 lead. The Tomateros tacked on another run in the seventh inning when Jose Manuel Rodriguez scored on an error by center fielder Yefri Perez.
The Dominican Republic had its chances. The Gigantes loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the eighth, but they managed only one run, which came on a wild pitch, to cut Mexico's lead to 2-1. A run-scoring single by White Sox infielder Leury Garcia tied the game in the ninth. Garcia later scored the game-winning run on a single by Brewers Minor League outfielder Elian Herrera.
"It was a great game, and you have to give credit to Mexico," Vicente said. "Fortunately, we were able to get a hit in the ninth inning."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.